Sunday, August 12, 2018

Alien vs. Predator

Movie Name: Alien vs. Predator
Year of Release: 2004
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Raoul Bova, Lance Henriksen, Ewen Bremmer, Colin Salmon, Tommy Flanagan, Joseph Rye, Agathe de La Boulaye, Carsten Norgaard, Sam Troughton, Kieran Bew
Genre: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
Watch it on Amazon

After the cold reception experienced by Jean Pierre Jeunet's "Alien Resurrection", the studio behind the franchise, decided to tackle an adaption of the comic book that had been created in 1989, that married two of the studio's properties: the Alien creature and the Predator. Director Paul W. S. Anderson, then coming off the success of "Resident Evil" was chosen to direct and write the screenplay for the feature. The film follows the events of an expedition in the Arctic, under the funding of Charles Weyland, the CEO of  the Weyland Utani company. This expedition aims to discover the origins of a pyramid buried in the ice. Unbeknownst to the the group, the pyramid is indeed ancient, but it is used as a stage for the Predator creatures to lure humans to be used as hosts for the Alien creatures, so they can go through a battle, which functions as a rite of passage for their young warriors. The group of humans going through the expedition soon realize the events taking place, and try to escape both menaces.
Paul W. S. Anderson's approach is one where his technical dexterity, sadly does not marry adequately with the stories and screenplays he creates. "Alien vs. Predator" is no exception: the group of characters is quickly forgettable, in detriment of the real allure, which comes in the shape of the Alien and Predator creatures. Unlike the films of Ridley Scott, James Cameron or David Fincher, the creatures are quickly presented and showcased, leaving little to the imagination. It removes a lot of the finesse that always dominated the series - the ever evolving game of shadows, of hide and seek, of suggesting more than gratuitously showing the monster, is not on display here. The human component is mostly fodder for the creature counterparts, both of which go on a game of non stop destruction. It's a film that tries to drink from its iconic progenitors, but is sadly devoid of the refinement, concept and ultimately execution of those films. The cast is quickly forgotten, even the reliable Lance Henriksen and the talented Ewen Bremmer. A missed opportunity.